Independence is Bliss

In a recession many people need to get creative with work. With layoffs abounding the nation it is up to you to get yourself a paycheck. In order to do this, make sure that you flow in the direction of the water if you want to stay afloat. Check out some independent/entrepreneur positions that you could begin all by yourself.


If you are better at something than most people and don’t mind teaching it, this is the job for you. Take your special skills and share them with the world. Spend the $20 on: $14 on a box of clean-edge laser or inkjet business cards and $6 buying your first prospect a cup of coffee one morning.


To do it right, start by picking a subject matter you know a lot about. Then get a domain and create a web site. It doesn’t even matter what technology you use just as long as you have original and interesting content. Set aside time every week to put new content on the site, delete dead links, and other maintenance. After you are getting the hits coming to your site from your interesting regularly updated website, you can sell primo advertising room.

Spend the $20 on: $8 or less for a domain (see our Online Business Guide’s list of cheap domain name registrars) and $12 for a year of hosting (search for “$1 hosting”).

House sitter / Pet sitter

People need security. Give it to them. Whether its pets or just home visits you can really rake in the money making people’s lives more comfortable. You don’t necessarily need to have any skills or requirements other than being trustworthy and organized.  Be sure to have personal references available, and you’ll also need reliable transportation. If you want to get serious, you can get bonded and insured as well. Spend the $20 on: $2 on flyers to put up on bulletin boards, and the rest on classified ads in your local neighborhood paper (not a big city-wide one).

Professional Organizer

People these days are simply overwhelmed by their “stuff”. Help them figure it out! There are plenty of people that feel quite overwhelmed by their own things and what to do with them.  There’s a prime opportunity for people to come in at a reasonable rate and get houses organized. And while there is a National Association of Professional Organizers that you can join when you’re ready, mostly it takes common sense and organizational skills.

Spend the $20 on: Classified ads.

Go Green to Save Green

Green is good for so many reasons as many businesses have discovered. Save the planet, save the rain forest, reduce carbon emissions, etc. We all have now (hopefully) been exposed to the vital importance of doing what we can in business to give back to the ever and always giving planet. If you weren’t already sold on green business just for the basic “it’s the right thing to do” mentality, here are a couple of great money saving and productivity boosting reasons to give it a shot if you haven’t already.

Good PR

Publicize your deeds to your planet and let people know what your environmental initiatives are. This will not only boost the image that people may have of you but will also add a new value to your company that could make your worth heavier in the business world. Just make sure you’re actually doing what you’re saying to avoid green washing, be open and honest with your green efforts!

Boost Morale and Productivity

Employees like hearing that the company they work for cares. It has been proven that companies that are dedicated to reducing their carbon footprint and that give back to their planet have higher productivity rates and less absenteeism. It is not only good for your planet, but for the overall health of your company.

Saving the Dough

Not only is going green good business, but it can reduce cost of operating in the long run. It includes but is not limited to reducing paper use, changing the way you make copies, reducing energy used to run an office and of course reducing the amount of water consumption. A typical office disposes of about 350 pounds of wastepaper per employee per year.

Businesses gone green and saving money

Ghirardelli Chocolate Company

Ghirardelli redesigned their packaging to incorporate reusable plastic totes for chocolate shipments, and has as a result, saved the chocolate company $520,000 annually.

Bank of America

By reducing the weight of ATM receipts from 20 pounds to 15 pounds,BOA saved transportation and storage/handling costs just around $500,000 a year.

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport

The 16th busiest airport in the United States increased its recycling from 100 tons diverted from landfills in 2001 to 900 tons diverted in 2005, resulting in an annual savings of $178,000.

New United Motor Manufacturing, Inc. (NUMMI)

GM and Toyotas $2 billion of North American automobile venture decided to incorporate energy conservation, waste reduction, material efficiency and recycling into their company standards. This later helped the company save somewhere around $4.5 million in 1999. They now ask their suppliers to use reusable shipping containers for the shipment of parts, which reduced their consumption of cardboard by 60 percent in 1999, accounting for $2.5 million of the company’s savings that year while also avoiding 11,000 tons of waste.

Oakland Processing and Distribution Center of U.S. Postal Service

This branch of the U.S. Postal Service is saving $500,000 a year by taking steps to remove recyclables from their waste stream and increasing the efficiency of energy and water use.

Traits of a Good Leader

Every company needs an effective, stable and strong leader charging forward to bring new opportunity and know how to calm the storm when the time comes. If you are one of these people or would like to be one, check out the list of effective leadership traits.

Learn and Teach Always

Every leader needs to know how to learn effectively and consistently. Business is always changing as well as the industry. Also, learning is half of the battle–leaders need to know how to translate their knowledge into employee/communal language.

Be Nice

Employment is a different environment than it used to be. It is now a place where you must earn trust and value employees to keep morale high. Simply, be fair, be kind, and be understanding and these values will take you, your team and your overall company far.

Personal Responsibility

Building teams that are about the best for the group and making sure that as a leader you are taking accountability for what is your responsibility and allowing the team to benefit.

Consistently Simplify

If a company is working on too many things, sometimes things can get muddled and unfocused. It is important to always have your top three elements that the company is focusing on. No more.

Global Context

How does your company fit into the world? What does your company mean to business? Where do you sit in the ecological sphere of the business world? This is all effective and vital information to know as you are building and leading your business.

What’s your style?

Appreciate what you bring to the table as a leader and build on that. Make sure that you are always self aware to assure that you are staying on track and on board the effective leader train. It is easy to fall off of this and feel the need for change.

Manage by setting boundaries with freedom in the middle

The boundaries are commitment, passion, trust, and teamwork. Within those guidelines, there’s plenty of freedom. But no one can cross those four boundaries.

Detailed and Disciplined

Know all of the cogs and wheels and how they turn within the company sphere. No job is too unimportant, no facts are useless. Make sure that you have the most important ones written down in your brain and used as a way of doing business.

Time Management, Inc.

What are your priorities as a company? Define these and then set them into your daily tasks and goals that go into your planner so you are consistently aligned with them.

Be Straightforward

A good leader is able to correct assertively and move on. Make your corrections like smells–get them in and get them out. This will keep things open, fresh and leave no questions as to how you feel about something.

Ways to Show Appreciation

In business, it is important to recognize the hardworking employees. Making sure to take time to give them the recognition they need is important to a company’s functionality and overall health. Many of the reasons to give awards to employees include term of service, productivity, sales, and more.

Thanks for being with us. Longevity of service is one of the biggest reasons a company gives employee awards. Every year of service saying thank you can be a fantastic way of letting them know you appreciate their loyalty and hard work. Some companies may start with a pen, then a mug, a plaque, and so forth. This appreciation can build incentive to stay.

Thanks for your hard work. Another reason to give employees’ awards is to show the people that you care about how hard they are working. Managers can be slow when it comes to rewarding others for their hard work. The best way a manager can reward an employee is by giving a thoughtful gift rather than bringing in donuts for the staff on Fridays (however I’m sure this is very much appreciated!)

Great job on your sales numbers! Sales employees often fight it out for the most sales in a team. They may be competing for the highest sales to earn a vacation somewhere or even for employee awards given by the company. It is common for companies to give big glass awards for top sellers as well as intangible items like vacations.

Best of….Employee awards are a brilliant idea because they work to build encouragement and motivation within the employees. This kind of positive reinforcement can cause more productivity creating a competitive edge in the businesses, and works to motivate the workforce.

There are many reasons to give employee awards to staff members in any business. The employees are the bread and butter of most organizations and could use recognition and appreciation to keep the cogs in your business well oiled and working fabulous.

Magnify Yourself

As a business owner, have you ever thought to yourself, “I gave them my business card, but they will throw it away or store it with all of their others”? You want to stand out and not only that but you want them to think of you the minute that they have the need for your services.

The best way to stick with people is to get a magnetic business card, especially if you are in the service industry. You might not always be needed but want to be the first on a customer’s mind when they are in need of your services. Being on someone’s fridge provides this service to you and for them holds their coupons, kids accomplishments and to do lists to their fridge.

Let’s just state the obvious here, refrigerators are used frequently. You could almost call it the local watering hole in a home. People living and visiting the home eat and talk there. Having your business card on the fridge lets you have hundreds of opportunities to be remembered in a future clients mind.

With many clients it is all about the “first number I see” concept. Although this may not be the best way to choose a business, it is a fact of business. Get in on the secret and get your business up on people’s fridges before your competition does!

Promote With Success!

Promotional products are one of the safest ways to get into people’s minds and personal or business radars for a long time. They provide a constant reminder that people should be using your services and products. However, there is a right and a wrong way to match your company’s image and objective to promotional products. Some things to consider:

I want it and need it

Coming away from a trade show, it is easy to have a plethora of things that you don’t need and will surely throw away the minute you get back to your office. Make sure that what you are giving away will stay in people’s lives for a time to come. Pads of paper, pencils, and pens are all good examples. Think of an item that will stick around for awhile and that will be used.

Quality vs. Quantity

When it comes to having products that stay in people’s lives for a long time without breaking, running out (of whatever it has) is going to require that you buy quality products. Spending a bit more on each item to ensure quality and longevity can make the huge difference for making sure your items aren’t likely to end up in the trash.

Designing for Success

Make sure that when you have a product, that you are giving the three most important things out to your consumer: business name, website, and logo. Now you may have to improvise a little….you may not be able to fit all three together. Always have a business name and website, if you can fit a logo on, do it!

Big Personality, Big Difference

When you are at a trade show or expo, it is so very important to understand that a first impression can sometimes be your only chance to make an impression to passersby. The term “big personality” can sometimes have negative connotations attached to it but in this specific case, it is a “big personality” that is honed in, professional and of course, effective.

If you are lucky enough to nab a person with a “big personality”, it is important to set them up for success and lead them in a direction of greatness. There are a number of things to help them focus on but during their training, these are the most important factors to check off your list.

Get Creative at Your Next Expo

When it comes to attending an Expo as a business, you need to really get your creative juices flowing. The keys to expo success are differentiation and maximizing exposure of your brand. Here are some ways to achieve these objectives.

Hourly Giveaways!

Keep them coming back for more! Get some cool products either from your company (or not) that will get people interested and asking about your company and circling your booth like a shark. If needed, check out a company that has a stellar product to giveaway, even go so far as to ask them to donate it if you put up an ad for them at the booth.

The way to orchestrate the giveaway is to get stickers created with your company logo (branding!) and get your customers to put one on by providing their email, or just by listening to your spiel. Slap the sticker on them so that it is visible. Then, around the time of your choice, go around with your super awesome prize and a camera and give it away to the first person that you see rocking your sticker. Make a big deal and take a picture.

The most important item to remember when running a giveaway is to not compromise your brand identity. Make sure that you have your logo on absolutely everything that you give away, that you are wearing and on your booth.

Promotional Products: Do it the Right Way

When you think of the word ‘promotion’ what do you think of?  Trade show? Contests? Slogan? Logo? Being Rememberable? All of these things are traits of a good promotional product–promotion is not limited to one venue.  Get in the mix and get your company out there into the minds and mouths of the world. You don’t have to physically be somewhere to make an impact with your fantastic promotional items, you can penetrate the barrier online. Here are some things to consider:

Promote your company’s website on everything:

When at a meeting, a social network event or even just bumping into someone on the street, it seems to always end with, “do you have a website?” Well, make sure that you are sharing that information on everything that you give out. This way, people will have access to your homepage and can see what you do and how your company can benefit them.

Find items that fit you and your company:

Make sure that your promotional items are representative of what you do as a company. If you are a computer company, invest in USB drives with your logo/website on it. If you’re an outdoor recreation company, give out backpacks with your information on it, or if you’re a health care company, try branding thermometers or first aid kits.

Give out your stuff online:

Whether you are looking to increase your traffic, get more people to subscribe to your newsletter or just for plain promotional purposes, give your stuff away online! Keep them coming back to your website to sign up for a contest and make sure that you give something away that is worth giving their email address up for. Remember, by giving it away, you are adding value to the consumer’s life and they are promoting for you, carrying your brand and message with them where ever they go!

Rewards and thank you’s:

Loyalty is a strong word in life and especially in business. There’s nothing that says thank you more than gifting them a fantastic product that has function, quality and of course, your information on it.

‘Rememberable’ yourself.

By giving away promotional products you are giving yourself the competitive advantage. You are standing out amongst the rest by showering your customers with free promotional products that will go a long way in your ‘rememberable’ status in their world. There are so many companies doing so many things, make yours not just another company, but a unique establishment that provides quality.

Say Thank You Personally and Professionally

When we think of saying thank you professionally what do we think of? A card? A phone call? A gift? All of these ideas work, but as we are all learning now more than ever in a fluctuating economy, it is all about standing out and retaining clientele! In order to keep the clients that mean most to you, let them know how much their business means to you and your company. Achieve this by sending a personalized gift that shows how you stand out from their normal professional relationship. They are valuable. And you are valuable. And this gift shows that not only are you professional but personal. This is the mark of a fantastic relationship that hopefully will last for both of you.

The best way to get the gift that speaks all of these ideas is to get a standard gift for high end and important clients from a company that knows and understands the importance of making this impression rushIMPRINT has not only a variety of fantastic gifts and items that will wow your audience, but also will make sure that it is personalized with your company’s logo and name–to remind the receiver just who it is from.
And what is the best way to entice or thank your audience? Food. Chocolate. Salty, sweet, luxurious goodness that represent the things that we don’t always buy for ourselves, but that would make a perfect gift of indulgence. Choose the best type of thank you that you would like to send. Anything from simple cashews with a beautiful personalized box is a good choice or then there is the Celebration Basket that is perfect for when you reel in the big fish that you need to send to the president of the company. The range of mixes and matches are endless.

Overall, it is incredibly important to begin, continue or end a professional relationship with grace and a sense of giving.